The French Alps are spectacular at any time of the year and the region is fantastic for tourists who want to ski, relax, or just take in the incredible scenery. As the largest mountain range in Europe, the Alps spans an impressive 750 miles and borders eight countries: France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Germany, and Slovenia. When it comes to holidaying in the French Alps, there are lots of things for visitors to see and do. Here are our picks of the best things to do in the French Alps.
Sightsee in Haute-Savoie
Like a lot of tourist spots in the French Alps, this region in the east of France has many resorts for skiing and snowboarding. But there is a lot more to Haute-Savoie than just winter sports.
Aiguille du Midi offers awe-inspiring panoramic views and is home to the mountaineering capital of Chamonix. As well as breathtaking mountain views, Chamonix has Europe’s highest cable car.
For visitors interested in art and culture, Flaine is a resort to the north of the region that features open-air sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet.
To the southeast is the picturesque town of Annecy, which looks straight out of a chocolate box. This pretty little town, considered to be the Alps’ own ‘Little Venice’ overlooks Lake Annecy and the Thiou River and is famous for its canals, cobbled streets, and pastel-coloured buildings. There is also an art and natural history museum in the Chateau d’Annecy, the historic home of Genevan counts.
Ski in Tignes
You can’t visit the French Alps and not try skiing at least once. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a complete beginner, our top pick of the pistes is Tignes. This high-altitude commune in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps is situated near the Italian border and boasts the longest ski season in Europe.
Tignes consists of a collection of little villages, all varying in what they offer in terms of skiing facilities. Whilst the rough terrain further up the resort valley is more suited to experienced skiers, the main town has lots of options for beginners and those of intermediate level.
There are easier runs further down the valley towards Tignes-Les-Brevieres and the area benefits from the installation of chair lifts and good ease of access links.
However, before you book a resort in the area, it’s a good idea to have a good look at a Tignes piste map to establish exactly where in the valley is most suited to your skiing skills.
Regardless of where you go in Tignes though, there’s one thing you can certainly be sure of – there is lots to keep you entertained after a long day on the slopes. Tignes has some of the best après-ski nightlife in the Alps, with its lively bars and clubs, many of which are open until the early hours.
Relax at the Lakes
If you need some relaxation after a day on the pistes, or you just want to be pampered, then the French Alps are abundant with spas and thermal pools.
Lake Geneva, which borders France and Switzerland, has some of the most serene and luxury spas to indulge in. On the shores of this stunning lake is the spa town of Evian-les-Bains, which is world-famous for its natural springs of mineral water.
Just over the Swiss border is Leukerbad, another spa town renowned for its hot springs. The history of Leukerbad’s springs and their therapeutic effect on the body dates back to Roman times. Today, the town’s mineral waters are enjoyed in public baths, private spa hotels, wellbeing and rehabilitation centres, and more.
With its striking scenery, ski slopes, picturesque towns, and therapeutic thermal springs, there are so many things to do in the French Alps. If you’re taking a holiday there, be sure to check out the places we’ve recommended.